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Trill and Swagger

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Album Review

Boston-area band Tiny Amps excel with basic alt-rock arrangements with a somewhat, big, beefy chorus. Lead singer Jeff O'Neil veers from singing a song like "Dance on a Crowded Floor" in a monotone to basically speaking the words. Nonetheless, fans of groups like Pavement would lap these tunes up. "Backbone" meanwhile has more bite and urgency about it, like a demo from the Replacements sung by a cross of Shane MacGowan and Psychedelic Furs singer Richard Butler. The down-tempo "Salt in the Sand" is a rudimentary pop tune that ambles along perfectly, but "Amway" seems much too dour to gain any momentum, somewhat resembling Marcy Playground. Tiny Amps are best when they blur the line between a slight alt-country feeling and indie rock, especially during the deliberate but steadily growing "Slip & Slide" with its quasi-Rolling Stones bridge. O'Neil describes his half-asleep vocal delivery best in the Weezer-ish "Ghost" with the lines "What did I say?/Lost my words today/They fell out of my mouth for everyone to see." Tiny Amps sticks to this casual indie rock blueprint on "Zombie," making it sound like frantic punk rock compared to the nearly coma-inducing "Carrots."

Trill and Swagger, Tiny Amps
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